It's critic bingo! (Dept. of Neologisms)

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Jeff Leve
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1051 Post by Jeff Leve » June 17th, 2020, 9:17 am

John Morris wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 7:49 am
Paul McCourt wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 7:33 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 7:19 am
I'm like you, Paul. I think Jeff's note on the Conseillante is fun, and if you read his notes, occasionally he does that, presumably, to communicate his exuberance for a wine. It's like when I tease him about "liquid sex". What I like about Jeff's notes is that I can tell which wines will work for me, versus which, like this one, likely will not. I just read Neal Martin's report on the 2019s, and while I like his musings, sometimes I have a hard time discerning the modern from the classic. In this recent report, he specifically highlighted as over-performers for the vintage: Clinet, Poyferre and Smith Haut Lafite. I look at Jeff as more of a commentator than a critic, and as a commentator, I guess he gets more of a free pass and liberality. The paid critics, well, that's fair game to have at them, just like they have at the wine!
Jeff takes a lot of undeserved beatings, in my opinion. Nobody is perfect, and he puts out a lot of content to pick at. I appreciate the notes and information, and form my own personal opinion as to how I value them - which doesn't have to translate into criticizing him.

BTW, what did Neal say about the SHL?
You and Alfert and I are saying the same thing about the value off Jeff’s site and notes. My palate doesn’t correlate well with Jeff’s, but I still find his notes useful. My only quarrel with Jeff here is with his measurement in seconds of the finish.
And I am fully aware of that, which is honest and appreciated. Palate correlation is not relevant to me. What remains paramount is my ability to impart to readers what to expect should they buy that wine and show how that wine ranks vis a vis with its peers. If I do that correctly, we are all better off.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1052 Post by Jeff Leve » June 17th, 2020, 9:59 am

John Morris wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 6:56 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 12:05 pm
Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 8:34 am


This, so many times this.

I can accept is a young Vintage Port tastes like a cherry-chocolate dessert, but there's something really wrong if that comes into mind when drinking Bordeaux.
Marcus and Otto... May I ask you guys, how many barrel samples of young Bordeaux do you taste each year? I think I taste a fair amount every year and I can easily say, chocolate and cherry are quite common descriptors at this stage of the game. Especially with Merlot in the blend. Those characteristics fade with age.
I don’t think they/we are denying that a lot of Bordeaux smells and tastes like Black Forest cake today. We’re just saying that it didn’t used to.
As a barrel sample, I am not sure if that is correct or not. Those are natural scents from ripe Merlot. Personally, I only go back to 2005. I will ask some of my friends if that is case.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1053 Post by John Morris » June 17th, 2020, 11:19 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 9:59 am
John Morris wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 6:56 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 12:05 pm


Marcus and Otto... May I ask you guys, how many barrel samples of young Bordeaux do you taste each year? I think I taste a fair amount every year and I can easily say, chocolate and cherry are quite common descriptors at this stage of the game. Especially with Merlot in the blend. Those characteristics fade with age.
I don’t think they/we are denying that a lot of Bordeaux smells and tastes like Black Forest cake today. We’re just saying that it didn’t used to.
As a barrel sample, I am not sure if that is correct or not. Those are natural scents from ripe Merlot. Personally, I only go back to 2005. I will ask some of my friends if that is case.
I tasted fairly extensively in Bordeaux in 83, 88 and 01 (and I think one other year in the 90s) -- generally including barrel samples and the most recent releases from bottle -- and I tasted new releases very intensively here in the US in the 80s (generally several times a week during release seasons, plus blind tastings). The wines were much less ripe and fruity than they are today.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1054 Post by Howard Cooper » June 17th, 2020, 2:47 pm

David Strange wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 4:57 am
Andy Sc wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 4:46 am
I see that you're focusing on the exact number of seconds instead of focusing of the meaning of it, i.e. very, very, very long finish, much longer than the other wines tasted under the same conditions. Critizing it for the measurement in seconds (when this tells you just that it was longer than the others) or for the reason that the next time it might be (likely is) different, shows that you're reading the critics notes wrong.
Well, if you think that 60 seconds means very... very long in whatever particular circumstances the taster is going through his 1 to N samples, what should I write when I drink half a bottle of German Riesling before lunch and I can still taste it when lunch is served 15 minutes later? Does that mean it is better than the contrived Claret with a sixty second finish. It is subjective, after all, and I'd just be describing the length of the finish in the circumstances that I tried it... Wouldn't saying something like 'impressively long finish' suggest less objectivity and focus more on the character of the wine in the (unknowable) circumstances it was tasted in? Saying '60 second finish' is simply risable.
I think you should write that you drank half a bottle of German Riesling before lunch and could still taste it when lunch was served 15 minutes later.

I don't really believe in "objective" tasting notes. Tasting notes, by their very nature, are subjective and tell your impressions of the wine. I tend to pay more attention to tasting notes of people who in the past have liked similar wines to the wines I like and pay less attention to tasting notes from people who like different types of wines from me. If I pay attention to your tasting note, it is because I want your impression of the wine so I want to know that YOU could still taste it 15 minutes later. Similarly, if Jeff counts the finish and for him it is 60 seconds, he should write that he could taste the wine for 60 seconds.

These are tasting notes people are writing, not the Bible.
Howard

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1055 Post by Howard Cooper » June 17th, 2020, 2:50 pm

Troy Stark wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 5:31 am
I agree that it's a little disingenuous to describe the finish of a wine in finite terms of time. Isn't it sufficient to say the finish is "short" or "clipped" or "sufficient" or "bitter" or "incredibly long and saturated"? Something a little less precise but containing the same mean?

I don't know, maybe I just need to change how I interpret a note that says "finish lasts well over a minute" to simply be the equivalent of "very long finish"?
Do tasting notes really need to be this dry? I mean, can't there be a middle ground between Black Forest Cake and something written in a stuffy English club in the 1950s? I like it when wine writers express their personalities. For example, I used to buy a lot of wine from David Shildknecht when he was in retail in DC. One of the most wonderful things about talking with David about wine was his enthusiasm. This came through in his sales catalogs and they were wonderful to read (and cost me too much money - none of which I regret). But, when he writes for more "serious" wine newsletters, he seems to clamp down his enthusiasm and tries to be more serious and analytical. I always miss the enthusiasm I love so much.

Similarly, I have tasted wine at dinner a couple of times with Jeff. Again, I love his enthusiasm for wine and think it is wonderful that he can bring that into his wine writing. I often don't like the same wines as Jeff, but the wines he gets excited about are the wines he gets excited about. The notes are always real and from his heart and I don't know how much more one can ask of him.
Howard

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1056 Post by John Morris » June 17th, 2020, 3:11 pm

William K and Luis Guitierrez are good models in my book. Both write notes that are highly informative about the background of the wine (e.g., site, winemaking, how it compares to other vintages) and also describe the wines with enthusiasm (where called for) and in terms that allows the reader to make an informed buying decision based on style as well as quality. Their tasting notes can also just be read for interest. Both write well (though in different styles), without lots of writing ticks, so their notes aren't boring or repetitive.

And they don't sound like they're under contract with the producer's marketing department.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1057 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 17th, 2020, 3:20 pm

John Morris wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 3:11 pm
William K and Luis Guitierrez are good models in my book. Both write notes that are highly informative about the background of the wine (e.g., site, winemaking, how it compares to other vintages) and also describe the wines with enthusiasm (where called for) and in terms that allows the reader to make an informed buying decision based on style as well as quality. Their tasting notes can also just be read for interest. Both write well (though in different styles), without lots of writing ticks, so their notes aren't boring or repetitive.

And they don't sound like they're under contract with the producer's marketing department.
Yea they are both really excellent, really the best two of the new crop of critics. I have some palate alignment issues with Luis, but my hit rate with William is really excellent. I have no qualms buying much of anything he recommends. He ain’t too shabby at making wine, either.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1058 Post by crickey » June 17th, 2020, 3:58 pm

John Morris wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 3:11 pm
William K and Luis Guitierrez are good models in my book. Both write notes that are highly informative about the background of the wine (e.g., site, winemaking, how it compares to other vintages) and also describe the wines with enthusiasm (where called for) and in terms that allows the reader to make an informed buying decision based on style as well as quality. Their tasting notes can also just be read for interest. Both write well (though in different styles), without lots of writing ticks, so their notes aren't boring or repetitive.

And they don't sound like they're under contract with the producer's marketing department.
Most of Lisa P-B's notes are actually quite dry (even the Black Forest Cake description is, I believe, intended to be technical rather than indicative of quality, despite what several people here seem to think). If you only focus on the 99-100 pointers, you miss this quality about her writing. Where she has difficulty is conveying high quality and/or emotional engagement without resorting to raw hyperbole. I think the difficulty is inherent in the MW template she uses: it's a technical evaluation that doesn't translate immediately into points. So she can communicate a lot of information about the wine, but needs to add surplusage in order to support the score. It's probably why it seems like marketing-speak: it often doesn't seem to be organic to the note, even though I have no doubt the sentiments are genuine.

Incidentally, I see the same issue with the new WA reviewer, Erin Brooks, who I happen to like a lot. She just resorts to hyperbole less, which, oddly, makes it more glaring when she does.

Parker, on the other hand, had developed a tasting note language that derived from the same evaluation that gave rise to the points. The descriptions were comparative in nature, and thus seemed to mesh with the score.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1059 Post by Charlie Carnes » June 17th, 2020, 8:34 pm

So I have question for the “pros”. You taste 600+ wines for 2019, and many are in the 50/60 or more second finish range. Does that mean you wait say 70 seconds for each finish to finish. Do you use a stopwatch? Is it a gut feeling? What happens in the end when the taste is almost nothing? I wonder if you could concentrate on anything else while waiting to the last second? I’m guessing about two full minutes from imbibing , swallowing, counting finish and memorializing it. How much time is spent on each wine?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1060 Post by Jeff Leve » June 18th, 2020, 8:36 am

Charlie Carnes wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 8:34 pm
So I have question for the “pros”. You taste 600+ wines for 2019, and many are in the 50/60 or more second finish range. Does that mean you wait say 70 seconds for each finish to finish. Do you use a stopwatch? Is it a gut feeling? What happens in the end when the taste is almost nothing? I wonder if you could concentrate on anything else while waiting to the last second? I’m guessing about two full minutes from imbibing , swallowing, counting finish and memorializing it. How much time is spent on each wine?
Good questions...

I cannot speak for others, but when I quote a finish, I use my watch, and yes, I look at the second hand the entire time. At this point, I like the wine so much, my focus is on the textures, length, purity and volume of the wine. I time very few finishes. But when I do, I will have already sniffed, sipped and spat at least twice. Maybe even taken a minor swallow, but it is not often.

Also, not that many wines provide an extraordinary finish. They are far and few between. As a guess, maybe 10 of 600 + wines.

Generally speaking, it takes an average of 3 minutes to open the database, taste and write a note per wine. However, the higher-scoring wines could get up to 5 minutes of time or more, while the smaller, less interesting wines might get about 90 seconds.

If I am with a producer, the time is of course longer, as we will discuss the wine, vintages, changes at the property etc. But the actual tasting of the wine is as I posted above.

Does this help explain my process?

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1061 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 18th, 2020, 9:18 am

Jeff, serious question: what the heck do you do with all the leftovers!?!

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1062 Post by Jeff Leve » June 18th, 2020, 9:50 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 9:18 am
Jeff, serious question: what the heck do you do with all the leftovers!?!
It's a good question. It depends on the wine. Most is discarded. Some bottles I give to friends that can pick up. I have allowed 1-2 people to come taste later in the day, due to social distancing, I am not having that many people over.

I also have an assistant for this project who takes a case home per night to share with her friends.

But the best wines I have had with dinner that night. 2 days ago 2 friends come over and we ran through all the Moueix wines again, and again, along with Angelus and Brane Cantenac, contrasting and comparing. Tonight I have a friend coming by and we are drinking all the lineup of Leoville Las Cases.

On one occasion, a small group of friends got together and I brought a case for everyone to taste.

Trust me, the lineup of Haut Brion, Mouton, Lafite, Margaux and countless other wines, (yes the Rolland wines) have gone where they were intended to go, right down the gullet with dinner! It has actually been a fun project in that way, as this would never happen in Bordeaux.

The wines are young, but they are so soft, sweet, fresh and easy to taste, they are fun with dinner.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1063 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 18th, 2020, 12:07 pm

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 9:50 am
The wines are young, but they are so soft, sweet, fresh and easy to taste
It sounds like I can skip Bordeaux for good. rolleyes [wink.gif]

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1064 Post by Jeff Leve » June 18th, 2020, 12:59 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 12:07 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 9:50 am
The wines are young, but they are so soft, sweet, fresh and easy to taste
It sounds like I can skip Bordeaux for good. rolleyes [wink.gif]
Are you saying a wine needs to taste bad in its youth in order to be good?

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1065 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » June 18th, 2020, 1:40 pm

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 12:59 pm
Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 12:07 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 9:50 am
The wines are young, but they are so soft, sweet, fresh and easy to taste
It sounds like I can skip Bordeaux for good. rolleyes [wink.gif]
Are you saying a wine needs to taste bad in its youth in order to be good?

I'm sorry, but this is the kind of smash and grab argument that went on too much on the old Parker board. "Sweet, fresh and easy to taste," is considerably more specific (and controversial) than good. I expect you do know what he means and you know that it means his taste and yours are not alike. That is not the same thing as saying the words you put in his mouth.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1066 Post by Jeff Leve » June 18th, 2020, 1:54 pm

Jonathan Loesberg wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 12:59 pm
Otto Forsberg wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 12:07 pm


It sounds like I can skip Bordeaux for good. rolleyes [wink.gif]
Are you saying a wine needs to taste bad in its youth in order to be good?

I'm sorry, but this is the kind of smash and grab argument that went on too much on the old Parker board. "Sweet, fresh and easy to taste," is considerably more specific (and controversial) than good. I expect you do know what he means and you know that it means his taste and yours are not alike. That is not the same thing as saying the words you put in his mouth.
Sorry, but I do not agree with you in the least. He, you or others can read detailed tasting notes on more than 600 Bordeaux wines from 2019 to see where I stand on any wine or the vintage at large.

I taste a lot of barrel samples and much of the time, they are interesting, but usually not something I would want to drink over dinner. That is not the case with 2019, they are quite charming, even at this primary stage of the game to enjoy.

That statement should not engender any controversy and IMO, should be seen as a positive sign.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1067 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » June 18th, 2020, 2:00 pm

It is not the statement that did engender controversy and, most importantly, the specific way you phrased the controversy. The rest of your post is irrelevant to the question, which is not whether young wines can taste good and still age well but whether young bordeaux can be "sweet, fresh and easy to taste," and be the kind of bordeaux that Otto and others might want to drink. If you had said "easy to taste" in isolation, you would have a point, but you did not.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1068 Post by Brandon R » June 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm

Jeff, I admire you being here and responding to all of this ridiculousness. I am often amazed to what people choose to take umbrage.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1069 Post by Jeff Leve » June 18th, 2020, 2:15 pm

Jonathan Loesberg wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:00 pm
It is not the statement that did engender controversy and, most importantly, the specific way you phrased the controversy. The rest of your post is irrelevant to the question, which is not whether young wines can taste good and still age well but whether young bordeaux can be "sweet, fresh and easy to taste," and be the kind of bordeaux that Otto and others might want to drink. If you had said "easy to taste" in isolation, you would have a point, but you did not.
I often agree with you. But not here.

I’ve read all of Otto’s post in this thread and I’m fairly certain where he’s coming from. He’s quite clear. With that in mind, does Bordeaux need to taste bad in their youth to be the type of wine he’d like?

FWIW, I’ve enjoyed Brane Cantenac, Lafite, Mouton, Haut Brion, Pichon L, Pichon B, Branaire, Giscours and tonight, LLC with dinners, all wines that even Alfret would find his type of wine.

IMO, it’s a positive sign these wines are already soft, sweet and fresh.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1070 Post by Jeff Leve » June 18th, 2020, 2:23 pm

Brandon R wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Jeff, I admire you being here and responding to all of this ridiculousness. I am often amazed to what people choose to take umbrage.
Thanks. Sometimes I find divergent views presented here interesting. Other times they are just silly. This is a website. It’s not the real world. Most folks know that. A few people in here, I’m not so sure about.

If you’re going to feel comfortable offering an opinion, you need thick skin. Knowing this is only a website, very little bothers me.

And some of the folks on here I differ the most with, I’ve come to enjoy their posts, passion and humor. I’d happily drink with them. Though I think I’m going to bring the wine😁

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1071 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 18th, 2020, 2:27 pm

Brandon R wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Jeff, I admire you being here.
Me too - the smileys were there to hint the readers not to forget the pinch of salt. While my taste really doesn't align with Jeff's, I still want to say I respect his vast knowledge and experience on the matter and capabilities as a reliable taster.

However, I also had an actual point there as well: describing a wine "so soft, sweet and easy to taste" really sounds exactly the opposite of the style of wine I enjoy, hence my jab. Honestly. You can put it "taste bad" if you want to, but in my ears that "soft, sweet and easy to taste" sounds like a wine that would taste bad to me. My ideal Bordeaux is cold, tough and not easy to taste, which makes it so wonderful. Not thin, weedy or lacking fruit, but instead having enough fruit to keep the wine from coming across as austere but not to make the wine feel "fruity". That's the kind of stuff I like - the muscular structure might make the wine feel not easy to taste, but it also makes it pair wonderfully with food.

So to clarify things: my original comment above was made in half jest. I taste enough Bordeaux to know there still are some great wines made that fit my palate wonderfully, but I've also noticed that all too many Bordeaux wines are - as you said - "soft, sweet and easy to taste". I.e. wines I really don't like. I have no problems whatsoever to leave the modern Bdx wines to people who enjoy them and concentrate more on older, classic cooler vintages of Bordeaux - while they still are available - and other wine regions that make wines which align better with my taste.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1072 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 18th, 2020, 2:29 pm

And freshness is something I'm definitely not opposed to! On the contrary - I find freshness one of the key components in great wines.

However, how I define "freshness" is all too often absent in Bordeaux reds from the most recent vintages - especially in ones where St. Ém. reds can clock at 15,5% ABV.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1073 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 18th, 2020, 2:51 pm

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:23 pm
Brandon R wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Jeff, I admire you being here and responding to all of this ridiculousness. I am often amazed to what people choose to take umbrage.
Thanks. Sometimes I find divergent views presented here interesting. Other times they are just silly. This is a website. It’s not the real world. Most folks know that. A few people in here, I’m not so sure about.

If you’re going to feel comfortable offering an opinion, you need thick skin. Knowing this is only a website, very little bothers me.

And some of the folks on here I differ the most with, I’ve come to enjoy their posts, passion and humor. I’d happily drink with them. Though I think I’m going to bring the wine😁
Oh come on, Brandon, what do you think happens when Jeffois comes into a thread like this? And Jeff loves this shit. It’s a funny thread. We all go way back with him. And for the most part, all of us have a very good relationship. It is often good-natured punch-counterpunch. Sure, some go off a bit, but oh well, that makes them look bad. If you scroll around, must of us are very complementary of Jeff and his most excellent website.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1074 Post by crickey » June 18th, 2020, 3:10 pm

I'm drinking a 2000 Troplong Mondot, and I'm getting primarily cherry and bitter chocolate, so I'm just gonna say it tastes like Black Forest Cake, topped with some blueberry drizzle.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1075 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 18th, 2020, 4:24 pm

crickey wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 3:10 pm
I'm drinking a 2000 Troplong Mondot, and I'm getting primarily cherry and bitter chocolate, so I'm just gonna say it tastes like Black Forest Cake, topped with some blueberry drizzle.

#ThatsHot

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1076 Post by John Morris » June 18th, 2020, 4:35 pm

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:23 pm
Brandon R wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Jeff, I admire you being here and responding to all of this ridiculousness. I am often amazed to what people choose to take umbrage.
Thanks. Sometimes I find divergent views presented here interesting. Other times they are just silly. This is a website. It’s not the real world. Most folks know that. A few people in here, I’m not so sure about.

If you’re going to feel comfortable offering an opinion, you need thick skin. Knowing this is only a website, very little bothers me.

And some of the folks on here I differ the most with, I’ve come to enjoy their posts, passion and humor. I’d happily drink with them. Though I think I’m going to bring the wine😁
After all the bitter squabbling in the eBob days, I appreciate your civility here. There have been lots of good exchanges here among people with differing preferences and opinions. That's Berserkers at its best.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1077 Post by Paul McCourt » June 18th, 2020, 7:42 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 4:24 pm
crickey wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 3:10 pm
I'm drinking a 2000 Troplong Mondot, and I'm getting primarily cherry and bitter chocolate, so I'm just gonna say it tastes like Black Forest Cake, topped with some blueberry drizzle.

#ThatsHot
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1078 Post by crickey » June 19th, 2020, 5:00 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 4:24 pm
crickey wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 3:10 pm
I'm drinking a 2000 Troplong Mondot, and I'm getting primarily cherry and bitter chocolate, so I'm just gonna say it tastes like Black Forest Cake, topped with some blueberry drizzle.

#ThatsHot
If anyone was worried that "Black Forest cake" implies dessert, rest assured, the Troplong Mondot was anything but sweet. The tannins were brutal; 12 hours later, I still feel like my mouth is lined with cotton.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1079 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 19th, 2020, 6:08 am

Cotton candy cake!?! ;)

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1080 Post by John Morris » June 19th, 2020, 6:14 am

crickey wrote:
June 19th, 2020, 5:00 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 4:24 pm
crickey wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 3:10 pm
I'm drinking a 2000 Troplong Mondot, and I'm getting primarily cherry and bitter chocolate, so I'm just gonna say it tastes like Black Forest Cake, topped with some blueberry drizzle.

#ThatsHot
If anyone was worried that "Black Forest cake" implies dessert, rest assured, the Troplong Mondot was anything but sweet. The tannins were brutal; 12 hours later, I still feel like my mouth is lined with cotton.
You have a stop watch that runs 12 hours?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1081 Post by crickey » June 19th, 2020, 6:34 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 19th, 2020, 6:08 am
Cotton candy cake!?! ;)
I wish. I like cotton candy. At my age, of course, I don't eat it anymore. The last time I had it was about eight years ago in the company of a beautiful woman who bought some to share. The time before that was about 45 years ago.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1082 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 19th, 2020, 6:39 am

crickey wrote:
June 19th, 2020, 6:34 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 19th, 2020, 6:08 am
Cotton candy cake!?! ;)
I wish. I like cotton candy. At my age, of course, I don't eat it anymore. The last time I had it was about eight years ago in the company of a beautiful woman who bought some to share. The time before that was about 45 years ago.
Clearly under those circumstances, a gentleman must in fact eat the cake. I’m pretty sure that’s Natural Law. I’d even indulge in the dreaded Black Forest Cake (BFC), notwithstanding my dislike.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1083 Post by Jeff Leve » June 19th, 2020, 8:17 am

John Morris wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 4:35 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:23 pm
Brandon R wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Jeff, I admire you being here and responding to all of this ridiculousness. I am often amazed to what people choose to take umbrage.
Thanks. Sometimes I find divergent views presented here interesting. Other times they are just silly. This is a website. It’s not the real world. Most folks know that. A few people in here, I’m not so sure about.

If you’re going to feel comfortable offering an opinion, you need thick skin. Knowing this is only a website, very little bothers me.

And some of the folks on here I differ the most with, I’ve come to enjoy their posts, passion and humor. I’d happily drink with them. Though I think I’m going to bring the wine😁
After all the bitter squabbling in the eBob days, I appreciate your civility here. There have been lots of good exchanges here among people with differing preferences and opinions. That's Berserkers at its best.
Honest, it is all good with me. While I might not agree with some folks, most people are fine. I have never had issues with people on the other side of a view, especially when they can present a rationale for their points like you do. Also most of my Internet time is spent on my site, which I continue improving, at least I hope I do.

Plus, this is thread is fun. My only issue is you seldom skewer me and I am developing a complex. neener

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1084 Post by John Morris » June 19th, 2020, 9:00 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 19th, 2020, 8:17 am
My only issue is you seldom skewer me and I am developing a complex. neener
Spend some more time reading Perotti-Brown and Galloni tasting notes and absorb their style. Then it will be open season. champagne.gif
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1085 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » June 20th, 2020, 10:39 am

John Morris wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 11:19 am
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 9:59 am
John Morris wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 6:56 pm

I don’t think they/we are denying that a lot of Bordeaux smells and tastes like Black Forest cake today. We’re just saying that it didn’t used to.
As a barrel sample, I am not sure if that is correct or not. Those are natural scents from ripe Merlot. Personally, I only go back to 2005. I will ask some of my friends if that is case.
I tasted fairly extensively in Bordeaux in 83, 88 and 01 (and I think one other year in the 90s) -- generally including barrel samples and the most recent releases from bottle -- and I tasted new releases very intensively here in the US in the 80s (generally several times a week during release seasons, plus blind tastings). The wines were much less ripe and fruity than they are today.
I have never tasted in Bordeaux but I HAVE tasted a lot of black forest cake, which is a super-rich fudgey chocolate cake with sweetened cherries, cherry liquer, and whipped cream. Saying that wine tastes like black forest cake and expecting that to be a positive descriptor is like saying that wine tastes like a chocolate sundae and expecting that to be a positive descriptor. It's not saying "there is a hint of mocha combined with a red-fruited quality like fresh cherries" (already a little contradictory but whatever). It's saying I want my wine to taste like an over the top dessert that little kids love. At that point, why not just buy the dessert? It's like one-tenth the price and it's never corked!

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1086 Post by Howard Cooper » June 20th, 2020, 11:10 am

Jeff Leve wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 1:54 pm
That is not the case with 2019, they are quite charming, even at this primary stage of the game to enjoy.
If so many of these wines taste like Black Forest Cake and are "so soft, sweet and easy to taste", would it be better to have them as dessert?
Howard

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1087 Post by Jeff Leve » June 20th, 2020, 12:41 pm

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
June 20th, 2020, 10:39 am
John Morris wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 11:19 am
Jeff Leve wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 9:59 am


As a barrel sample, I am not sure if that is correct or not. Those are natural scents from ripe Merlot. Personally, I only go back to 2005. I will ask some of my friends if that is case.
I tasted fairly extensively in Bordeaux in 83, 88 and 01 (and I think one other year in the 90s) -- generally including barrel samples and the most recent releases from bottle -- and I tasted new releases very intensively here in the US in the 80s (generally several times a week during release seasons, plus blind tastings). The wines were much less ripe and fruity than they are today.
I have never tasted in Bordeaux but I HAVE tasted a lot of black forest cake, which is a super-rich fudgey chocolate cake with sweetened cherries, cherry liquer, and whipped cream. Saying that wine tastes like black forest cake and expecting that to be a positive descriptor is like saying that wine tastes like a chocolate sundae and expecting that to be a positive descriptor. It's not saying "there is a hint of mocha combined with a red-fruited quality like fresh cherries" (already a little contradictory but whatever). It's saying I want my wine to taste like an over the top dessert that little kids love. At that point, why not just buy the dessert? It's like one-tenth the price and it's never corked!
So you have never tasted barrel samples and yet you have an opinion on them. OK.

2 points to help you. Before that, however, so we and everyone else is clear, I have not, and never will use black forest cake as a descriptor as I really do not like black forest cake. The descriptors I use are related to my everyday life, so they make sense to me, and hopefully to readers.

#1 Almost every young Bordeaux of quality with Merlot shows chocolate. Including Petrus. It is in almost every ripe Pomerol, much of Saint Emilion and several Left Bank wines. Black cherries and plums are also ubiquitous with Merlot wines and blends. If you do not like those attributes, do not drink them. Find another wine region that is better suited for your palate. This is not to put you down, or argue with you, I am simply explaining the facts.

#2 With barrel samples, it is not what they are, but what they will become when they mature. The ability to do that takes time and experience and not many folks do that well. Chocolate fades in the Left Bank, but it stays with most Pomerol wines, even after they mature and taken on truffle and other secondary notes. And yes, it can remain in 50-year-old wines as well.

I hope this helps you to better understand what you are reading when viewing tasting notes.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1088 Post by John Morris » June 20th, 2020, 2:30 pm

Jeff- The chocolate I find in classic cab and merlot-based wines usually come across as dark, almost bitter chocolate, not the buttery sweet chocolate of cakes. And the cherries in Black Forest cake are cooked, so jammy. That’s different from fresh black cherries and plums. So I find it hard to see the descriptor as positive unless you like a very modern style of cab/merlot.

I have done a lot of barrel sampling over a long stretch of time, and I’d be more alarmed at Black Forest cake notes at that stage in a wine’s evolution than later.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1089 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » June 20th, 2020, 3:58 pm

Let's take this one step further, people. There is *no* chocolate in any Bordeaux wine! There is not a single Bordeaux producer who mixes cacao powder or any other product of the cacao bean or even any artificial chocolate flavoring into their must or their wine before bottling! Amazingly, "chocolate" is just a *metaphor*, that is a familiar but imperfect analogy used to attempt to communicate a subjective impression of a wine flavor to a reader.

By general agreement, the "chocolate" metaphor can be at least reasonably useful in describing vinous flavors, in no small part because the range of experiences of chocolate is so vast (from extremely bitter to extremely sweet, light to intense, fruity to earthy, etc.) that people can generally find some purchase for the metaphor in how they experience certain wines. It is my contention, however, that the "black forest cake" metaphor, which unambiguously describes an extremely sweet, thick, fudgey, and confected dessert is not useful in describing what should be Bordeaux flavors, and if someone thinks it is this makes me believe either that the wine is bad or I don't trust their palate.

Jeff, I hope this explanation helps you to better understand what you are doing when writing wine tasting notes.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1090 Post by John Morris » June 20th, 2020, 5:46 pm

I think it may be more than a metaphor. I don’t know the chemistry of chocolate, but I bet some compounds in it are shared with Cabernet and merlot, just as oak contains vanillin.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1091 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » June 20th, 2020, 6:46 pm

John Morris wrote:
June 20th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I think it may be more than a metaphor. I don’t know the chemistry of chocolate, but I bet some compounds in it are shared with Cabernet and merlot, just as oak contains vanillin.
Nope, metaphor. There is no chocolate in wine. There are a limited number of organic compounds to go around so of course they may share some organic compounds, but that doesn't at all mean they are the same thing. There are malic acids and sugar in wine and malic acids and sugar in milk but there is no milk in wine (and no wine in milk), etc. etc. many such examples.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1092 Post by crickey » June 20th, 2020, 7:09 pm

Unless we are talking about fruit wine, they don't put cherries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, lemons, limes, apples, pears, blood oranges, quince or any other kind of fruit other than grapes in the wine. They also don't put in roses, violets, coffee, tea, tar, tobacco, earth, charcoal, iron, pencil shavings/graphite, underbrush, mint, asparagus, green beans, barbecue sauce, smoked meat or blood in wine, but I've "tasted" or "smelled" of those in wines. It's rather amazing what the brain will make of fermented grape juice.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1093 Post by John Morris » June 20th, 2020, 8:21 pm

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
June 20th, 2020, 6:46 pm
John Morris wrote:
June 20th, 2020, 5:46 pm
I think it may be more than a metaphor. I don’t know the chemistry of chocolate, but I bet some compounds in it are shared with Cabernet and merlot, just as oak contains vanillin.
Nope, metaphor. There is no chocolate in wine. There are a limited number of organic compounds to go around so of course they may share some organic compounds, but that doesn't at all mean they are the same thing. There are malic acids and sugar in wine and malic acids and sugar in milk but there is no milk in wine (and no wine in milk), etc. etc. many such examples.
Huh? I didn’t say there was chocolate in wine; just that some have a chocolate note in their taste or aroma.

“A limited number of organic compounds to go around”? There are something like 160 esters alone found in wine alone. And that’s just esters.

There are no apples or oranges in wine, but there are lactones, which those fruits have. And they give wine fruity flavors.

As you say, there is no milk in wine, but there is diacetyl in those that have gone through malolactic fermentation. It often gives them a buttery flavor, because it is also found in cultured butter, sour cream and buttermilk.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1094 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 21st, 2020, 3:16 am

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
June 20th, 2020, 6:46 pm
There are malic acids and sugar in wine and malic acids and sugar in milk but there is no milk in wine (and no wine in milk), etc. etc. many such examples.
Malic acid in milk? [scratch.gif]

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1095 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 22nd, 2020, 8:51 am

John Morris wrote:
June 20th, 2020, 2:30 pm
Jeff- The chocolate I find in classic cab and merlot-based wines usually come across as dark, almost bitter chocolate, not the buttery sweet chocolate of cakes. And the cherries in Black Forest cake are cooked, so jammy. That’s different from fresh black cherries and plums. So I find it hard to see the descriptor as positive unless you like a very modern style of cab/merlot.

I have done a lot of barrel sampling over a long stretch of time, and I’d be more alarmed at Black Forest cake notes at that stage in a wine’s evolution than later.
She’s baaack . . . .

Notes on the 2019 Lalande
97-99 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate: "A blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc (with no Petit Verdot this year), the 2019 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande came in at an alcohol of 14.15% and a pH of 3.7. Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, it sails out of the glass with a stunning array of Black Forest cake, warm cassis and wild blueberries scents with underlying hints of Morello cherries, redcurrant jelly, pencil shavings, menthol and aniseed with a touch of charcoal. The medium-bodied palate packs a lot of fruit into an elegant package, featuring very finely grained, silt-like tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with loads of lingering mineral and exotic spice accents." 6/20
It’s like a nervous tick.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1096 Post by Jeff Leve » June 22nd, 2020, 9:31 am

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
June 20th, 2020, 3:58 pm
Let's take this one step further, people. There is *no* chocolate in any Bordeaux wine! There is not a single Bordeaux producer who mixes cacao powder or any other product of the cacao bean or even any artificial chocolate flavoring into their must or their wine before bottling! Amazingly, "chocolate" is just a *metaphor*, that is a familiar but imperfect analogy used to attempt to communicate a subjective impression of a wine flavor to a reader.

By general agreement, the "chocolate" metaphor can be at least reasonably useful in describing vinous flavors, in no small part because the range of experiences of chocolate is so vast (from extremely bitter to extremely sweet, light to intense, fruity to earthy, etc.) that people can generally find some purchase for the metaphor in how they experience certain wines. It is my contention, however, that the "black forest cake" metaphor, which unambiguously describes an extremely sweet, thick, fudgey, and confected dessert is not useful in describing what should be Bordeaux flavors, and if someone thinks it is this makes me believe either that the wine is bad or I don't trust their palate.

Jeff, I hope this explanation helps you to better understand what you are doing when writing wine tasting notes.
In the old days, I would have written some sarcastic response to your post. But as I've aged. Like my wine, I have mellowed and want to thank you for your explanation about experiencing chocolate in wine.

Until now, I often wondered if they actually placed chunks of Valhrona into the vats. Now, I know they only add cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and plums. And what about all those fresh flowers, herbs, forest floor and truffles I find in wine? Do they add those into the blend as well?

Of course, that leaves me wondering as to which Cuban Cigars they include, my favorite being Cohiba Behikes! And what about licorice, tobacco, smoke, vanilla, leather, soy, salt, rocks, stones etc? How do they find the time to source all those ingredients? This also explains why they have so many vats in their cellars these days! Clearly they are all on the conspiracy saying each vat was for specific parcels. Now, thanks to you, I know the truth!

Thank you for filling me in. You really should write a book... "There is no F'ing Chocolate in Your Wine!" However, until your book comes out, I will simply continue using chocolate as a descriptor when that is the sensation I find in the wine.

Yes, good thing I have mellowed with age :D

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1097 Post by Keith Levenberg » June 22nd, 2020, 11:00 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 22nd, 2020, 8:51 am
the 2019 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande came in at an alcohol of 14.15%
woo-hoo! No tariff!

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1098 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 22nd, 2020, 11:06 am

Keith Levenberg wrote:
June 22nd, 2020, 11:00 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 22nd, 2020, 8:51 am
the 2019 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande came in at an alcohol of 14.15%
woo-hoo! No tariff!
LOL, yes! I missed it. Figeac too. [cheers.gif]

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1099 Post by John Morris » June 22nd, 2020, 11:13 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 22nd, 2020, 8:51 am
She’s baaack . . . .

Notes on the 2019 Lalande
97-99 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate: "A blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc (with no Petit Verdot this year), the 2019 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande came in at an alcohol of 14.15% and a pH of 3.7. Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, it sails out of the glass with a stunning array of Black Forest cake, warm cassis and wild blueberries scents with underlying hints of Morello cherries, redcurrant jelly, pencil shavings, menthol and aniseed with a touch of charcoal. The medium-bodied palate packs a lot of fruit into an elegant package, featuring very finely grained, silt-like tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with loads of lingering mineral and exotic spice accents." 6/20

It’s like a nervous tick.
I think she’s going to exhaust her thesaurus looking for verbs describing the way smells come out of the glass.

The stupid thing is that this tick — and the hunt for new verbs to avoid repetition — is that it stems from describing aromas as something the wine does, a sort of anthropomorphic metaphor. If she simply wrote about the attributes of the wine, she wouldn’t be struggling so for new verbs that call attention to themselves. E.g., just write “it smells like ...” or “it has intoxicating aromas of ....”
"But they told me there would be a hand basket."

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Re: It's critic bingo! ('19 Haut Brion threatens to "go atomic")

#1100 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 22nd, 2020, 11:19 am

I wanna see her use effluvium as a means of expressing how it can emanate from the glass or bottle.

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